Google’s in-house Arts & Culture division has announced that they will be teaming up with digital art preservation specialists Rhizome to help keep digital art of all sorts safe and enjoyable for years to come as closely to their original forms as possible. Rhizome has been working toward this goal for quite some time, while Google Arts & Culture has focused primarily on more traditional art forms. Digital art requires a somewhat different approach to preservation, with the main consideration being obsolescence and degradation of storage media over time. Rhizome will be lending Google their expertise as the two work together to help preserve the digital world’s many great creative works, and Google will be lending Rhizome their wallet, storage, and computing muscle.
Google’s Vint Cerf, the vice president of Google Arts & Culture, attended a conference last month in London where leaders in the field of art preservation, including Rhizome’s Dragan Espenschied, talked over the state and future of digital media preservation. The conferencegoers spoke of various methods of distribution and preservation that would allow digital art to be kept safe and enjoyed by all long after the standard it was originally created in becomes obsolete.
Google Arts & Culture mainly works on digitally preserving pieces of art, and even putting them into whole new experiences, such as VR tours through paintings and famous landmarks. Rhizome, on the other hand, has been working on the digital front since the 1990s. The company has created a wide range of tools and standards that are meant to help digital works of art to reach new audiences in forms and formats that are faithful to the originals, compatible with newer file and computing tool standards, and able to be recompiled or ported as formats change. Going forward, Google Arts & Culture will be making Rhizome’s works available to the public for free, and helping to host, convert, and preserve them. The category of digital art is a wide one, including things like old videogames, user interfaces from legacy applications, and of course, traditional pixel art and digital music. All of these art forms and more will fall into Google and Rhizome’s combined wheelhouse under this new initiative.